Oregon’s law has functioned as expected since its inception 10 years ago. Despite the howling of those who claimed that the law would lead to mass suicides, only a tiny fraction of Oregonians take advantage of this law each year to legally end their lives on their own terms. Unfortunately, as David Postman reports, this initiative will have opposition from the Governor’s office:
Gov. Chris Gregoire is talking to reporters in Olympia. She was just asked her position on the assisted suicide initiative that former Gov. Booth Gardner will file tomorrow. Gardner, who has Parkinsons, has been a mentor to Gregoire. Gregoire’s voice cracked when she answered the question:
“I love my friend Booth Gardner and my heart goes out to his condition and what he’s had to face. He was my motivation for the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. I pray every day that we will find a cure. But I find it on a personal level, very, very difficult to support assisted suicide.”
That’s interesting, because back in 2004, when she was running for governor, the following appeared in the Seattle PI:
State Attorney General Christine Gregoire, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, said she does not see a conflict between her Catholic faith and protecting abortion rights, said Morton Brilliant, her press secretary.
Gregoire is “deeply faithful and also strongly committed to a woman’s right to choose,” Brilliant said. “And she believes a woman’s right to choice is a fundamental right.”
Directly bucking [Seattle Archbishop Alex] Brunett’s edict, he added that Gregoire does not believe abortion is immoral.
“(Gregoire) does not see her role as governor as requiring her to impose her faith on the entire state,” he said. “Washington is clearly a pro-choice state, Gregoire will not shy away from that belief and will not waver in her support of that right.”
I find it extremely difficult to understand how a person can see abortion as a fundamental right, but also see the right for a terminally ill individual to control their own death as being subject to other people’s moral qualms.
I catch some grief from my friends for having voted for Dino Rossi in 2004, but it’s days like this (and there have been many recently) that remind me why I just couldn’t fill in that circle next to Gregoire’s name. She ran a hollow campaign with no ideas and has since become a governor that nearly always reverts to the most authoritarian solutions, rather than being concerned with the state constitution, the rights of Washington State citizens, or even the foreseeable results of her actions. In almost everything we’ve seen, she seems more interested in doing the symbolic than the sensible.
As I was researching this post and looking for Gregoire’s past statements on abortion, I found that it’s nearly impossible to find statements directly from her that affirm her support for a woman’s right to choose. In fact, this page reports that she told Archbishop Brunett in the meeting referenced above that as a Catholic, she was “against abortion.” At this point, I have no idea who’s really telling the truth. But what I do know is that if she really is pro-choice, her stance on assisted suicide clearly makes her a hypocrite. If I had to guess, I’d say her stance on assisted suicide is the real Gregoire and her pro-choice position is a pander.
Dino Rossi is the only openly anti-choice politician I’ve ever voted for in my life, and as the election was unimaginably close, I became overly concerned about casting what was essentially a protest vote over Gregoire’s lethargic campaign that could’ve been the deciding vote in the entire election. After watching the entire Republican Party establishment act like a bunch of toddlers in the months after the election, I seriously doubt I can vote for Rossi again – but at this point, I can’t vote for Gregoire either. As the Bush era collapses into itself and gives Democrats incredible gains in Washington DC, we’re heading into a new progressive era where civil liberties actually matter again to voters, but this November Washington State residents won’t have anyone on the ballot who reflects these values.
UPDATE: Back in October, the Seattle Times had a nice story of someone in Oregon who took advantage of their right to choose.